Determine If There Are Relevant Florida Exemptions
Each state has its own exemptions for bankruptcies.There are exemptions that cant be counted against you in calculating your net worth.Florida does not allow residents to use Federal bankruptcy exemptions, but they must use the Florida exemptions.You have to determine which exemptions you qualify for.A homestead exemption allows a debtor to exempt an unlimited amount of value in your home.Certain personal property in Florida is exempt for up to $1000.It is possible to exempt up to $1000 in motor vehicle equity.The debtor can exempt up to $4,000 in personal property for those who dont use the homestead exemption.Retirement funds such as Simple IRAs are exempt.You can find a complete list of exemptions at: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/florida-bankruptcy-exemptions.
Will Bankruptcy Wipe Out All Of My Debts
While bankruptcy does discharge most debts , there are some debts that are not affected by a bankruptcy discharge . Typically, these are debts owed to the government , debts incurred as a result of a marital separation , student loans, and debts incurred through fraud or other improper means.
For more information on Timeline Of Bankruptcy In Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling 538-4188 today.
What About Debt Management Companies Instead Of Bankruptcy
Why is bankruptcy better than those “debt management” companies that advertise on TV and radio? Those folks want to negotiate with your creditors, but the creditors don’t have to agree to anything. In Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we don’t need the agreement of the creditors. The law just tells them how it is. Creditors may get something or they may get nothing, but they don’t get to vote .
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Florida Bankruptcy Exemption Rules
Some states allow debtors to choose between the state exemption system and a set of federal bankruptcy exemptions but Florida is not one of them. In Florida, you must use the state exemptions below. In addition to this list, you can also use the federal nonbankruptcy exemptions.
Unless noted otherwise, if a couple is married and filing jointly in Florida, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption .
To learn more about bankruptcy exemptions, including how they work, which state exemption system you should use, and special rules for the homestead exemption, see Bankruptcy Exemptions What Can I Keep When I File for Bankruptcy?
Determine If It Is Necessary To File For Bankruptcy
It is important that you understand what debt will remain and what will be eliminated when you file for bankruptcy.Depending on the type of bankruptcy filing, you may be able to eliminate or pay off most of your debt.You can have a new financial start with a discharge.You may be able to restructure your debt if you file for bankruptcy.Debt collection will no longer be possible if you file for bankruptcy.Utility companies cant stop your heat and hot water if you file for bankruptcy.If you can restructure your debt, you may be able to save money on your mortgage or car loan payments.You cant stop paying alimony or child support.You still have to pay criminal fines and most taxes.Even if you file for bankruptcy, a friend or family member will still have to pay your loan.
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Contact Us For A Free Initial Consultation ~ Se Habla Espaol
From offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach, our lawyers serve clients throughout South Florida. To arrange a consultation at any one of our offices, please call or send us an email. Let an experienced lawyer answer your bankruptcy questions today.
8551 West Sunrise Blvd., Suite 208 Plantation, FL 33322
8200 NW 41st St, Suite 200 Doral, FL 33166
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601 Heritage Dr., Suite 137A Jupiter, FL 33458
How Do Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions Help Me Keep My Property When I File Bankruptcy
The United States Supreme Court confirmed the goal of a bankruptcy filing is to give a debtor the opportunity to continue working for the future without the overwhelming burden of debt. Local Loan Co. v. Hunt, 292 U.S. 234, 244 However, how are you supposed to continue working to improve your financial future if you lose your property when you file for bankruptcy relief. Filing bankruptcy does not mean that you lose your property. In fact, one of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy relief in Florida is that you can protect your property from creditors.
Our Daytona bankruptcy lawyers can help you choose the right chapter of bankruptcy for you that eliminates your debts while protecting your property. Call our Florida bankruptcy law firm at to schedule a free bankruptcy consultation with an attorney. It does not cost you anything to discuss your options and learn about the bankruptcy process.
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Is Marital Property Safe In Bankruptcy
Under Florida family law, when a married couple jointly purchases a home or other personal property, it is presumed that the property will be held as tenancy by the entireties. In a tenancy by the entireties, the property is owned by the marital union, rather than by the individual spouses. This is an important fact to consider if you are contemplating filing bankruptcy when married.
Each party to the marriage has an undivided one-half interest in the marital union, which in turn owns the property. Thus, a creditor of one spouse may not place a lien on property held as a tenancy by the entirety without both spouses agreeing to do so. Therefore, if only one spouse agrees to give property held as tenancy by the entireties to a creditor as collateral for a loan, the creditor will not be able to force a liquidation of the property. Instead, the creditor will only have a lien on that spouseâs one-half interest in the tenancy by the entireties.
How Do I Qualify For Chapter 13 In Florida
An individual qualifies for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida as long as the individual’s unsecured debts are below $419,175 and the individual’s secured debts are less than $1,257,850 according to the American Bankruptcy Institute. This is for cases filed on or after April 1, 2019. Chapter 13 eligibility is quite a bit different, so many individuals are eligible for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida who may not be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
What Property Can I Keep
In a chapter 7 case, you can keep all property which the law says is exempt from the claims of creditors. Florida has liberal bankruptcy exemptions, including an unlimited homestead exemption which means in almost every instance, your home is protected.
In determining if personal property is exempt, you must keep a few things in mind. The value of property is not the amount you paid for it, but what it is worth when your bankruptcy case is filed. Especially for furniture and cars, this may be a great deal less than what you paid or what it would cost to buy a replacement.
The value of the contents of your house will be discussed at your petition signing appointment after you hire us. It is based on the honor system. Unless you are a high profile public figure, most likely no one will be going to your house to determine the value of your belongings but it does happen occasionally especially if the trustee assigned does not trust or know your attorney. This is yet, another reason you NEED to hire an experienced attorney for filing your bankruptcy.
We will also look at the equity in your property. That means you count your exemptions against the full value minus any money that you owe on mortgages or liens. For example, if you own a car that is worth $25,000 but you still own $15,000 to the bank for the car, you have only $10,000 in equity. That is where our attorneys will counsel you how we can protect the majority of the $10,000 in remaining equity.
Consider Your Nonexempt Assets
It is important to determine if you have nonexempt assets before you file. During the bankruptcy the trustee may take this property to pay off your debt. The assets and property you could lose may be worth more than the debt you can eliminate through bankruptcy, which is why its important for you to get legal advice before you file.
If all of your assets and income are exempt, then you may not want to file bankruptcy because they would be protected from your creditors.
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Take Bankruptcy Course 2
Bankruptcy Course 2 is a lot like Course 1. Itâs also known as the âpost-filing courseâ and the âdebtor education course.â People filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida have the option of taking Course 2 on the phone, over the internet, or in person. Just make sure you take it from a credit counseling agency approved to offer this course in the Sunshine State.
Just like after Course 1, youâll receive a certificate when you finish Course 2. You can submit the certificate to the bankruptcy court yourself, or you can ask the credit counseling agency to file the certificate for you. Either way, the certificate is important as it lets the Florida bankruptcy judge know that youâve completed this step of the bankruptcy process.
Do I Have To Go To Court
Yes, when a debtor files bankruptcy, they will be required to attend a meeting of the creditors. The meeting of creditors is commonly referred to as the 341 meeting because the meeting is required under section 341 of the bankruptcy code. Failure to attend the meeting can result in your case being dismissed. See In Re Lewis. Debtors are allowed to have their bankruptcy lawyer present with them at the meeting. If you filed for bankruptcy, it is strongly recommended to have your bankruptcy attorney present with you.
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Southern District Of Florida Requirements
The Southern District of Florida also provides extensive instructions for filing on its website.
If you plan on paying your court filing fee in installments, note that this districts requires the use of Local Form LF-03 for this purpose. All filers seeking to pay their court filing fee in installments has to pay no less than half of the $338at the time of filing.
The Court includes the nine counties of Broward, Highlands, Indian River, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie. The district includes Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach. It comprises 15,197 square miles and about 6.3 million people.
In addition to the national bankruptcy forms described above, the Southern District of Florida Bankruptcy Court requires you to file your pay stubs for the 60-day period before filing. If you donât have pay stubs for that period, you must file a local Florida called the Declaration Regarding Payment Advices. On this local form, you explain the reason you donât have pay stubs, such as âI was unemployedâ or âI am self-employed and donât receive pay stubs.â
Florida Legal Aid Organizations
Florida legal aid organizations provide free representation to low-income families who make below a certain amount of income per year, which is usually 200% of the poverty line. Some programs, like Community Legal Services of Mid Florida, are large and funded by Congress through the Legal Services Corporation, while other programs may be smaller and more local.
Overall, legal aid in Florida is robust for low-income Florida residents and you should check in with organizations near you to see if you may be eligible. These programs usually provide help in multiple areas of Florida law.
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Myth: You Can Easily Pay No Money Down
Another popular reason for choosing Chapter 13 is because it can often filed with âno money down.â
Unlike Chapter 7 where legal fees always must be paid up front, Chapter 13 attorney fees can be extended over the 5 year life of the plan. As a result, many law firms allow debtors who cannot afford Chapter 7 to file for Chapter 13 with âno money down.â
Though that might sound like a good idea if youâre cash strapped, but it rarely is. A recent national study suggests that âno money downâ filers pay $2,000 more and have their cases dismissed at a rate 18 times higher than if they had filed Chapter 7.
That means they donât get the relief from the debt that prompted them to file bankruptcy in the first place.
Nevertheless, attorneys will still offer this option because there is at least a possibility that youâll succeed. And even if you fail, the attorney can still generate fees from the fees that are paid before dismissal.
How To Keep Your Car And Maintain Your Freedom
- If the repossession man is looking for your car, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will also stop the finance company from repossessing your car.
- The past due payments and the entire balance on your vehicle loan will be consolidated, which you will pay off over the next three to five years. The vehicle finance company can no longer repossess you car, and you will no longer have to make a payment directly to the finance company.
- Only one payment is made, and that is to the Chapter 13 trustee.
- Under certain circumstances, we can even recover your vehicle after repossession and consolidate the remaining balance in bankruptcy court.
When seeking a lawyer to handle your financial issues, research the testimonials of their prior clients.
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Filing Bankruptcy Without A Lawyer In Florida Van Horn Law
One of the most frequently asked questions in my practice is In Florida, can I consider filing bankruptcy without a lawyer? Honestly, yes you can file
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Florida To file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, a person must be a permanent Florida resident or own property
Jul 12, 2020 If you are considering bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa to schedule a Can I File Bankruptcy Jointly Without My Spouse?How much debt do I need to file Bankruptcy?How long does a bankruptcy case take?
Where Do I File Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is usually filed in federal court in the district where the person in debt lives, based on the most recent six months before filing the bankruptcy base. If you have lived multiple places in the past six months, the filing takes place where you spent the most time. Businesses should file where their company is located, while corporations should file in the district where the business is incorporated. The main place of business usually depends on the circumstances and facts of the case. Many companies conduct their business in multiple states and have locations across the United States, so the place that they file bankruptcy should be where their primary business decisions were made in the six months before the bankruptcy was filed.
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How Much Does It Cost To File Chapter 13 In Florida
The cost to file a Chapter 13 in Florida is currently $310 per Form 2010. This does not include the bankruptcy attorney fees. You may want to read our entire article devoted to this subject titled Florida Bankruptcy Attorney Fees.
Below is a picture of the entire all in costs for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that includes the attorney fees. Now this is often covered within the Chapter 13 plan, so you do not have to often pay this entire amount up front.
What Are Bankruptcy Exemptions
The federal bankruptcy exemptions are a list of exclusions by Congress that are available to filers in specific states. These exemptions will determine what you are able to retain throughout and after Chapter 7. In a Chapter 13 situation, the exemptions will determine what amount you will have to pay certain financial institutions in your repayment plan.
Unless otherwise noted, all law references are to Florida Statutes Annotated.
222.01, .02, .03, .05 Fla. Const. 10-4 Real or personal property, including mobile or modular home and condominium, to unlimited value. Property cannot exceed: 1/2 acre in a municipality, or 160 acres elsewhere. Spouse or child of deceased owner may claim exemption. May file homestead declaration. Also, tenancies by the entities in real property are exempt as to debts of one spouse.
To learn more about Floridas generous homestead exemption, check out Florida Bankruptcy & the Homestead Exemption.
- Prepaid hurricane savings accounts, prepaid medical savings account and health savings account deposits, and prepaid college education trust deposits.
- Motor vehicle up to $1,000 prescribed health aids federal income tax credits or refunds.
- Pre-need funeral contract deposits.
- Any personal property up to $1,000 total, or up to $4,000 if no homestead claimed.
- Public assistance, reemployment assistance, Veterans benefits, and social security.
- Workers compensation.
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What Does It Cost To File Bankruptcy
Most attorneys will charge a flat fee for a bankruptcy filing, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. The fees for Chapter 13 are regulated by the court. In the middle District of Florida, in Tampa, bankruptcy courts will permit a bankruptcy attorney to charge a maximum of $4,200 for a bankruptcy and that can be paid either partially upfront or partially through the Chapter 13 plan or you can make some other arrangement with your attorney.
Chapter 7 fees are usually between $1,500 to $2,000 depending on the attorney, the amount of work involved in your Chapter 7 case, some when you add court filing fees and costs, you can expect to spend about $2,500 for a Chapter 7.